Having recently taken a trip to the cinema to take in the latest and possibly the greatest Wolverine movie “Logan” I found myself diving into my shelf-loads of comics eager to re-read some classic Wolverine. The story that stands out for me the most, is a tale of his tumultuous, violent forging in the hot, torturous fires of a secret laboratory.
This is of course the 1991 Weapon X arc, collecting Marvel Presents issues #72-84. This story, in fact, these comics are very unique. The arc is entirely the work of one man, writer and artist, Barry Windsor-Smith. As a result the art and writing harmonise on a special level, which makes this story flow more consistently and effortlessly than most.
The dark and fear ridden tone of the story is set immediately from the first page and never breaks. The heavy lined and dense, vibrant art, coupled with the way that the panels are laid out upon the page help to convey the raw and savage atmosphere.
This is not your regular super hero origin tale. What we are given at the beginning is a story of a man who appears to be at odds with his own nature. He has a secret, he seems to fear what this secret could mean for him should it ever be revealed. He is at rock bottom. He is then abducted.
We are told of his time as part of the Weapon X project, where he was given his adamantium skeleton. What we are shown, with no detail spared is the humanity savagely torn from him in an attempt to make him into a living weapon.
This is not a Superhero origin tale in the traditional sense. For starters, this tale is told primarily from the point of view of the scientists performing the various procedures and not Logan. This is a sci-fi thriller, infused with horror, steeped in violence and torture, culminating in the birth of a monster. It is glorious and for this reason it strikes a particular chord with me.
For me this story is the birth of the Wolverine we know today, amongst the blood, the pain and the rage. You empathise with Logan through all the atrocities he is forced to endure. Once you have read it, the shock-waves will crash through all other Wolverine stories you read from that point on. This is why it stands out so much, and why I believe it is so important. It has a lasting effect.
This is definitely my number one Wolverine tale and I think it is most certainly, a must read. I hope I have inspired you to pick it up, or pick it up again if that’s the case!